Belfast Telegraph

Companies are more fearful of fraud but don't make checks

By Lesley Houston

Nearly half of company boards said that within the last year, they have felt their businesses are more vulnerable to crime.

Yet 40% of organisations have admitted they are still not performing regular fraud risk assessments to prevent it - and they have been warned to do more to drive fraud out of business.

The views were detailed in a new report from Deloitte which found that fraud remains at the forefront of board agendas.

The document, Internal Audit Fraud Challenge: Prevention, Protection, Detection, showed that 43% of organisations believed their risk of fraud had increased in the last 12 months.

Many companies exhibited a strong approach to fraud risk, with 79% having a documented fraud policy - yet 40% said they failed to carry out regular fraud risk assessments, regarded as the quickest and most cost-effective way to identify weaknesses and stop fraud.

The key findings of the paper showed that 76% of organisations surveyed believe economic uncertainty had prompted board members to discuss improving ways of monitoring fraud risk.

Some 64% of firms said they believed economic uncertainty was driving up the level of internal audit remit in relation to fraud risk, while 58% said changes in regulation were leading to an increased focus on managing risks.

Cara McCrory of Deloitte's Advisory and Governance team in Belfast, warned of "work to be done by companies to ensure fraud is kept to a minimum".